The various comment feeds for the blogs here have been going out with incorrect link elements - I've just fixed that. Depending on which blog reader you use, you may have to reload the feed in order to get accurate link items.
InfoWorld reports that MS Office apps can be driven from back end Web Services. This is good news for Smalltalk developers, because integration via web services is far simpler in VisualWorks than is integration via COM. The 7.3 release will have some nice wizards for developing and deploying web services, and - based on this - it looks like you can just point Office apps at them. Cool stuff.
So I watched the season finale of "Enterprise" last night - seems Archer and the crew finally realized that defeating the enemy might mean having to kill the enemy. Mostly, it was a decent finale - until the season ending cliffhanger. Yes, it was made clear that Vortex travel could result in time travel - they had an episode dealing with that earlier. However, this raised a few questions:
- How did Archer end up in the past? He went through the Vortex in a different ship, and when he arrived, it was the present - The Reptilians blew away a space station
- Doesn't that also mean that the Aquatic ship is in the past? It carried "Enterprise" to Earth
- What the heck was up with the alien Nazi?
I really, really hope they don't have some silly thing like "WWII kept going after the timeline shifted" - for one thing, even if it had, there would have been jets and missiles. Not the mention the basic absurdity of supposing that the war actually got extended that long. I suppose we'll see in the fall...
It looks like I may get elite status on USAirways back again - I'm flying United to Australia (and I can assign those miles to USAirways). Then I go to ESUG this fall, in Germany - I suppose I'll fly USAirways there. Those two flights alone will likely get me my silver status back. So when am I going? I head to Australia on July 12th (arriving the 14th - love that dateline). I'm there until the 23rd - I'll be in Sydney and Canberra, and will be looking for something to do with on the weekend in between (I'm open to suggestions). This year's ESUG event is in Köthen, Germany - I don't plan to stay a weekend for that trip though. Before all that, I have planning meetings in Cincinnati in June, and in between, I have a vacation to Orlando in August. Looks like I'll be getting used to airports again.
Over on the Jaybaz weblog we find out why you want real objects instead of what C# (and Java) offer:
Every so often, I see a C# user say they'd like to add a method to an enum. Maybe it's Flags and they want to verify that the combination of flags is legal according to their business rules. Or maybe they're in the process of moving to something more OO, involving inheritance instead of constants.
Maybe if they had started with objects, they wouldn't have that problem. Then again, they might pull in fewer consulting dollars that way....
I just saw this morning that Richard Biggs (Dr. Stephen Franklin of Babylon 5) died recently. He was one of the strongest players on that series, and I had been looking forward to seeing more of his work. RIP.
ZDnet (Germany) has a nice Bf plug on their site. It's in German.
I think Patrick Logan is onto something here:
I think it also comes from the customer side... I continue to see a lot of behavior in large enterprises that seems to believe anything of *value* (not just cost, mind you) should by definition be big, complicated, and even cumbersome.
Really. I think the portal vendors, like other kinds of vendors, are just capitalizing on these behaviors. "Selling" something as simple as a Wiki, or even as simple as Smalltalk, is *more* difficult than selling the more complicated and costly approximations.
He's got a point there. How many applications that ought to be simple end up being massive 3 tiered monsters? How many people reflexively dismiss a simple client/server solution to a problem, because clearly you need a scalable N tier architecture - even in cases where the number of end users will be small? face it - developers absolutely wallow in complexity...
I went to see "The Day After Tomorrow". It's your stock disaster movie - nothing special, nothing too awful. The characters are all cardboard cutouts:
- "Politician who doesn't get it"
- Hard charging scientist who can't get through to people" (just like 10.5!)
- The child who gets trapped in a bad place (just like 10.5!)
And so on. There were a few silly things:
- It's really, really cold - and the guys in arctic gear have their lower faces exposed? Goodbye nose!
- The super cold air is swooping down, bursting windows - and yet all the main characters outrun it! (think "explosive decompression scenes" in space films
- At the very end, we have a shot of the earth with the ice sheet covering northern North America. But wait! Europe is free of ice - apparently, they ran out of budget for white pixels.
It's ok, if you don't expect a lot.
I saw this in a Java newsgroup:
Java used to be my favorite language until I learned Smalltalk. Its probably best you don't learn Smalltalk.
The following is part of a message I posted a few months ago in another newsgroup:
I used to be a big fan of statically types languages. A while go I read some productivity reports that showed C/C++ as the base productivity and compared other languages to it. Java rated about 2-3 times the productivity of C/C++. Smalltalk rated about 8-9 times the productivity of C/C++. Oddly Smalltalk software had less defects then C/C++, and Java which surprised me.
Me being a statically typed language guy at the time thought the numbers were a bunch of BS. I actually learned Smalltalk to prove to myself the numbers were wrong. After learning Smalltalk and using it in my spare time for over a year I came to the conclusion that I don't like Java, or C++.
My advice to other developers is don't learn Smalltalk. After learning Smalltalk writing in other languages is annoying because software development in Smalltalk is just so much easier. Its more satisfying developing software in languages such as Java and thinking "Well, its a very popular language so it must be good." rather then knowing the alternatives and cringing every time you write a line of code in Java because of all the broken features in the language.
Speaks for itself...
I'm going to take a much needed vacation late this summer - 6 nights at this Disney resort. I haven't stayed at the Beach Club since 2000 - the rates haven't looked good when I've had the opportunity to take a trip. However, they aren't bad this summer - if you have an annual pass to Disney. Now, I don't have one of those at the moment. I'll be buying one before I go, and here's the kicker - an annual pass (adult) is only about $50 more than a length of stay pass - and offers a huge discount at the high end resorts. It all worked out pretty nicly. We are heading down with friends and their kids - who have never been to Disney, so it should be an interesting experience. The Beach Club (and adjacent Yacht Club) are the nicest places I've ever stayed - good rooms, fantastic pools, very nice resort. I'm looking forward to this.
Over on MS' channel 9, there's an interview with Ward Cunningham. Page down a bit, and read the comments:
Obviously this guy has never heard of Reflector before :). Too bad for him.
ROTFL. Reflector is a bolt-on for C# that gives you a complex, weak version of what we call reflection in Smalltalk. These guys don't know what they don't know.....
Thanks to Michael, we have spell checking in the posting tool and the comment tool (both parts of BottomFeeder). I'll have to add an interface to the learn function - we are using ASpell, and it has an API for that. Once 3.5 ships, we'll have the library included for Windows (English dictionary only). You can visit the sourceforge site to install it in the meantime.
I just added a spell checker to BottomFeeder; I should explain how to go about installing it. First off, go here and grab ASpell for the platform you are running on. If it's Windows, follow this link. Next, grab the data and dict directories and copy them into the main BottomFeeder directory. Finally, on Windows, copy all the dll files from ASpell\bin into the main BottomFeeder directory.
Now, you'll need to make sure that you grab the latest dev bits from the upgrade site - make sure to install the latest Blog-Tools, BottomFeeder, and IRC-BottomFeeder-Plugin components. Once that's done, you should get spell checking in TypeLess, the Blog posting Tool, and in the comment tool. Mispelled words will be red with squiggly lines (as in Word) - right clicking on those words will offer a menu of possible replacements. We'll add in an interface for adding words to the dictionary eventually.
Ed Foster points out that the software industry isn't the only place that nasty EULAS are being pushed around:
"There is an outfit out there called the Handyman Club of America," the reader wrote. "Periodically, they send me an invitation to join their organization, promising me all kinds of tools, information, and benefits. However, one requirement of membership is I must agree to never share any of the information I learn from the club with anyone who is a non-member. Pleeeeze. Needless to say, the invitation gets tossed without opening.
The stupidity just spreads....
In response to this post, I was asked to post some links to reflection in Smalltalk. I dropped this comment into that post, but decided to surface it as a post:
Here are some of the best links on Smalltalk reflection:
Or just try this Google search and follow things that look interesting.
The phishers are getting far more clever. I just received a very realistic looking phish mail that purports to be from ebay. The bottom of the mail has a proper looking piece of boilerplate, complete with links to the appropriate privacy pages (etc.) on ebay. The only ways to tell that something might be amiss is to look carefully at
- the sender address (but only if you look at it carefully)
- the actual link address (as opposed to the printed representation
Since most people don't look at the status bar, I'm sure that this spam has taken in a large number of people. The scammers are getting far, far more clever....
What did Bruce Boxleitner do wrong to get involved in this dog? Killer Snakehead fish?
Since several ISPs were blocking his e-mail to their customers as a result of the SpamCop listing, the reader messaged Comcast in the hopes they would take appropriate action to remove the sources of spam from their server. Instead the helpful folks at Comcast replied:
"Thank you for contacting us regarding your Comcast High Speed Internet service. We're sorry but as the SpamCop server/service is the one that is blocking, you will need to contact SpamCop with your request."
Now, never mind that Comcast ought to be rooting out spammers in its own network (and there are reports that they might be starting to do so - just try following the advice to contact SpamCop. It's a completely opaque outfit that does not take feedback. Anti-social doesn't begin to describe them...
Charles Miller explains why all the JRoller blogs suddenly had all their items look new again. Changing GUIDS on old posts is pretty dodgy....
I'll be in Australia from July 14 - July 23 - I have a few things lined up via the Cincom Australia office, with customer visits and additional things still being fleshed out. Here's what I know will be happening so far:
- July 15: The July NSW Australian Computer Society Open Source SIG (possibly combined with the OOSIG as well)
- July 20: July Sydney Smalltalk Users Group
- July 22: July Canberra Linux Users Group
I've put all this time and energy into my blog page with House Ads, Adsense, Blogrolls, etc and it's a total waste of time and energy. Because by the end of this year, the number of people who actually visit my blog will be less than 10% of my total audience.
So, this means that the smart money is going to go into the feed space. Because that's where the action is. Forget AdSense. I need contextual ads built right into my feed. Forget Typepad links, I need the links built right into my feed. Same with comments
Making contextual ads for feeds is going to be a fair bit harder than it is for websites - after the content is grabbed, you don't necessarily see the reader anymore.
David Buck points out some of the things you can do in Smalltalk that are either impossible or very difficult to do in Java.
How's this for irony? The Taiwanese authorities boasted on Saturday that they'd caught a notorious hacker, author of the Peep Trojan program and the Randex series of email worms. In Germany, around the same time, they were celebrating the capture of the author of Sasser and the author of Netsky. So it was painfully ironic that it was the Sasser virus which disabled the Computex show network here in Taipei.
The worst thing is, the appropriate MS patch dates from 2003...
Peter William Lount has been writing some interesting stuff on Smalltalk and dynamic typing (as opposed to the kind of static typing you see in languages like Java). It seems that this is best viewed in Mozilla (or at least, not in IE - the style sheet baffles IE). You could also subscribe to his feed and read the content that way.
This is an old post, but the last paragraph just grabbed me:
I actually really like C#. It really rocks! In about 30 minutes I had full-on SOAP RPC working (remoting), and in about as much time I added CODEDOM - so I could compile "plug-in" code on the fly. Now that really rulez! For an added touch, I RPC'd the source to a C# add-in to the server, and compiled that in on-the-fly. Hahahaha, I feel like GOD. Too bad you can't run this code w/o the CLR installed... what a bummer. I wish you could statically link that somehow... if anyone knows how PLEASE msg me. I can tell you this, C# steamrolls Python like it was MULM in my fishtank's EHEIM (sorry Dave).
or to summarize: "Gee, these features (which are provided by the runtime env) are nifty. It's too bad it requires a runtime". I suppose his head would just explode if someone showed him live updating of a Smalltalk server...
Linux Today reports that RedHat screwed the pooch with Fedora:
As I sit before my new installation of Fedora Core 2 (FC2) I'm reminded of the first time I had to put down a beloved dog. FC2 suffers from some fatal flaws. For most people, it will be best to put this malformed whelp out of its misery and wait for the Fedora Project's next litter of pups, which promises some awesome powers.
BottomFeeder 3.5 is about to ship - I've got the most recent build available on the download page now (under dev links). The doc is being wrapped up, but other than that, I think it's about ready to go. What's new?
- Made the various view states more consistent - i.e., staying in the tree view if the user wants that
- When a folder is selected, the item view now shows all items in all feeds in that folder - appropriate to the view (all new, flagged, for instance)
- Made the application international aware - all strings exported out as User Messages
- The HTML view has been greatly enhanced, thanks to Holger!
- Better display of HTML
- Faster Image display on Windows
- Keyboard navigation (arrows, pageup/down, space bar)
- Added digest authentication - private LiveJournal feeds are now accessible
- The new A9 (Amazon) search engine is an option under searches
- Added BlogDigger as a feed builder (similar to Feedster support)
- Added support for the NewsTrove site's RSS search builder
- Added an option to adjust font scales specifically in the browser pane
- Added cross feed GUID resolution. If items in multiple feeds share a guid, then changing the state of one changes the state of all (read/unread)
- Added a 'View Related' view - If other items you've downloaded refer to the selected item, you can expand the view to show the related items
- Added a Minesweeper implementation as a plugin
- Greatly enhanced the handling of character set encoding. This results in more accurate display of items
- Added an option that allows users to change the encoding of items if they "look wrong" (happens if the encoding specified is not actually the one used)
- Added a setting allowing users to stop items being marked new when only new comments have arrived
- When loading a new page into the browser pane, the HTTP query is done in the background, and is cancelled if the item selection is changed.
- Added a spellchecker (Windows, Linux, Unix) to the blog poster, the comment tool, and the IRC plugin (TypeLess)
In the Church of Complexity, static typing makes everything harder. Go see what happens to a simple extract method refactoring over in the MS tools - and then look at what the Smalltalk Refactoring Browser does in a similar situation. Then, have a look here to see what kinds of things fall out of having static typing and interfaces. Wow. That sort of thing would have made for lots of very complex code in parts of BottomFeeder....
I've just released BottomFeeder 3.5. To see what's new, look here. I'd like to thank Rich Demers for his excellent documentation. I'd also like to thank Holger Kleinsorgen for his great work on Twoflower (the HTML component I use). Michael Lucas-Smith contributed the Spell check interface to ASpell - check the docs to see how to make sure it's installed correctly. There were many other people who contributed as well, please look under Help-About!
Updating to the new release: if you already have BottomFeeder installed, simply do this:
Download the appropriate baseApp zip file from the download page. Unzip it, and replace the executable (Windows) or Image (.im file, non-Windows) in the BottomFeeder directory. Delete all the files in 'app' and in 'plugins', and restart BottomFeeder - you should be upgraded. If you don't have Bf installed, use the Installer (Windows), or unzip the zip file (other platforms). Enjoy!
The Sydney, Australia Smalltalk STUG has some upcoming events to announce:
A general welcome to the next Sydney Smalltalk User Group Meeting on Tuesday June 8th starting at 6:30PM
This month we are featuring Bruce Badger of OpenSkills talking about the OpenSkills SkillsBase which is implemented using the Swazoo HTTP server running in GemStone, all hiding behind a Squid reverse proxy.
James Squire Brewhouse
22 The Promenade, King Street Wharf
King St Wharf, Sydney
Tel : 02 8270 7999
Head down to the bottom of King st. Turn right and it is a few hundred metres past some other restuarants almost opposite the Foxtel sign across the water
We'll be in the Ward room which is at the back of the James Squire. Go past the left hand side of bar and turn right.
And early notice of the following meeting on July 20th featuring James Robertson from Cincom.
Sign up to the Sydney Smalltalk Users Group mailing list here: